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Anderson County man sentenced to decades in prison for continuous sexual assault of a child

ANDERSON COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

From the Anderson County Criminal District Attorney's Office:

An Anderson County Jury found 64 year old Stephyn Prine of Slocum, Texas, Guilty of the felony offenses of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child and Sexual Abuse of a Child and sentenced him to 99 years in TDCJ and 20 years TDCJ respectively.

During the week-long trial that ended July 14, 2017, the Jury heard evidence of how Prine repeatedly sexually assaulted a family member. Witnesses testified how the victim was treated special by Prine through gifts and excessive attention. Those witnesses testified that his attention toward the victim was not normal behavior. The victim confided in a family member and another friend that she was being sexually assaulted by Prine. After a confrontation about the sexual assault, Prine was heard by independent witnesses saying to the victim “you know you wanted it, you know you liked it.” The friend she confided in heard the statements and called 911 for help, explaining that the victim was being sexually abused by a family member. The jury then heard from the victim who testified that after turning 13 years of age, Prine began sexually assaulting her repeatedly in the darkness of the night. The abuse happened until just after her 14th birthday.

The defendant took the stand in his own defense. When asked by his attorney if he had committed sexual assault against the victim, Prine answered, “not that I know of.” The jury also watched a video statement and listened to a written statement made by the defendant days after the abuse came to light. In one of the statements the defendant states, “If I was forcing her to do anything she didn’t want to do” someone would have heard me. That statement was made without any prior discussion by anyone with the defendant about what the victim had out cried as far as the abuse was concerned. Furthermore, when asked by the prosecutor why he did not deny or admit the allegations in either statement, he responded that he “wasn’t asked to.”

Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child is a 1st degree felony that carries a range of punishment from 25 years to 99 years or life in TDCJ and someone convicted of this crime is not eligible for parole and must serve the entire sentence day for day.

Allyson Mitchell, Anderson County Criminal District Attorney, stated that “children are our greatest assets. They are entrusted unto people to love, raise, and protect. A trust and love existed between the victim and the defendant; a trust that the defendant used to his sexual advantage.” She stated that “Based off the evidence, the jury made the correct decision. The 99 year and 20-year sentences let Prine know the repulsiveness and perversion of his acts and should send a message to other child predators. Sexual assaults tend to be a crime of secrets, and it is only when someone is brave enough to say this abuse is wrong does the abuse ever come to light. The victim will forever carry the memory of what happened but that should not define her. Strength should define her after confronting her abuser and with continued therapy and a safe environment she will continue to be a survivor.” Mitchell encourages any one that is a victim or knows someone that is a victim of sexual abuse to contact law enforcement, Child Protect Services or the District Attorney’s office.

She also explained that trials of this nature are an accumulation of efforts. In this case, it was the work of the witnesses, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Child Protective Services, Forensic Interviewer Rebecca Cunio, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Jessi Jones, child sexual assault counselor Larry Wilburn, and District Attorney Investigator Aneshia Thompson that helped tell the story of what happened to the victim.

The trial was presided over by 87th Judicial District Judge Deborah Oakes Evans. Anderson County Criminal District Attorney Allyson Mitchell and 1st Assistant District Attorney Scott Holden prosecuted the case with local attorney Stephen Evans representing Prine.

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